The Kangaroo

Those who have read our previous article On Martinis may recall that what many people refer to as a Vodka Martini is in fact properly known as a Kangaroo. (If it doesn’t consist of some ratio of gin and dry vermouth, it’s not a Martini.) But just because the Kangaroo is a commonly misnamed drink, doesn’t make it a bad drink.

Now, I have no idea why this cocktail was dubbed the Kangaroo, but I do have a theory. When the British arrived in Australia around 1770 they asked the Aboriginals, “I say, what on Earth is that odd looking creature over there?” (or something to that effect), to which the response was “kangaroo.” As it turns out though, “kangaroo” is really just the Aboriginal phrase for “I don’t know what you’re saying,” which, incidentally, should also be your response when someone asks you for a Vodka Martini.

3 oz Vodka

1 oz Dry Vermouth

Garnish with a twist of lemon or a cocktail olive

Because the Kangaroo lacks the juniper and citrus flavors that gin contributes to a Martini, the vermouth very much dominates this drink. For a more balanced cocktail, you may want to go drier and bring the vermouth down to 1 tablespoon.

5 thoughts on “The Kangaroo

  1. I got a chuckle out of the meaning of “Kangaroo,” but one way to fix the recipe is to use a lot less vermouth. My rule is the better the vodka, the less vermouth, so the vermouth sometimes varies from a teaspoon down to rinsing the glass with it. Of course, using better vermouth pulls in the opposite direction. Keep up the good work.
    –The Utah Mixologist

  2. matt and shanna says:

    Because the drink is only two ingredients you’re pretty safe to play with the ratio (much like a Martini, how dry you like it is a matter of personal preference).

    As for the quality of the vodka and vermouth, David Embury, who wrote the classic bar guide The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, reminds us that no drink will ever be better than it’s worst ingredient.

    And for the record, we’d love a spot on your World Cocktail Brain. Looks pretty cool.

  3. I like the David Embury quote; there’s a lot of “cocktail wisdom” (and truth) in it. It reminds me of the time I tried Hiram Walker Crème de Cassis… Here’s a link to your blog on the World Cocktail Brain (the link to the main Brain is I’m trying to make the Brain into the “go to” cocktail resource on the web. Any feedback on the Brain is welcome; let me know what you think.
    –The Utah Mixologist

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